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Helio Castroneves on Future: “Not In My Hands”

TORONTO, Ontario — Each week when drivers from different teams come to the media center to speak about their weekend so far, among other topics, you typically get the standard quotes that sound the same. Then there was this past weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday with Helio Castroneves.

After speaking about his weekend to date, he went on to introduce two of his three teammates – Josef Newgarden and Will Power – in his unique way.

“Let me introduce here José Nuevo Jardín. That’s Josef Newgarden. We’ll just start with the new times,” he said. “What can I say about the mumba power? As you can see — actually I never understood why they say Three Musketeers, but they have four guys. Have you seen that movie? They say Three Musketeers, but they have four guys. There’s always an odd man out.”

Of course, it begged the question – who is the odd man out? Castroneves answered, “It’s pretty obvious who’s the odd man out.”

Although you may want to assume that Castroneves’ lack of mentioning Simon Pagenaud makes him that person, there is another story at play here. Team Penske announced the formation of a sports car team, with intent to go racing in 2018.

Many have assumed Juan Pablo Montoya will be one of the four drivers, having remained with the team on a limited basis this season despite being replaced by Josef Newgarden at the end of 2016. Another name rumored last weekend at Iowa Speedway was Helio Castroneves, with a possibility of him leaving the Verizon IndyCar Series at season’s end despite not having won a championship to date in his luscious career.

“You shouldn’t ask me,” he said of his future. “There are people with more power than me actually to make things happen.”

Castroneves went on to say that the decision is “not in my hands” and will come down to common sense in what’s best for Team Penske moving forward.

“At this point, I feel that I’m going to do everything I can,” he added. “If we’re in that position to make it harder for everyone if there is a decision, in the end, to change or not.”

Right now, though, he is trying to remain focused on the goal at hand this season in winning the championship, currently sitting second in points, just three points behind Scott Dixon following Toronto.

“It’s difficult to assume, and right now there is a lot of speculation for sure, and even between when we have some conversations, we’re just still on the same page,” he said. “I mean, the team is going to make a sports car team, and we all here would love to drive. I mean, no question about it. We would like to drive whatever they have an opportunity like you have in the past.

“But at the moment, there is no commitment, no official decision, and I’m just focused — in my case, I’m just focusing on doing my best for the race here and the championship.”

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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.